7 Steps You Need to Follow to Write Your Ebook
One thing to always keep in mind is that the writing process doesn’t just involve writing. There are three stages starting with prewriting then going on to the actual writing, followed by revising. Today we will tackle the most difficult stage of all three, finally putting pen to paper and getting some writing done. Getting to this part where the magic happens might trigger one of two reactions in you, complete excitement, or nerve-wracking anxiety. Or sometimes a mix of both.
Here’s the thing you need to remember though, writing an ebook is a big deal. Some have high expectations for it and are either impatient for it to pay out or feel trepidation over the possibility of them not getting what they want out of it. The trick for you to wade through both reactions is to calm down, follow the previously paved path with the outline, and dive into your ebook. Ignore all the expectations and write for the sake of your book and nothing else.
This is the second part of the writing process series. For the first part, head on to The Simple Guide to Prewriting Your Ebook.
So now, without further ado, let’s get on to the seven steps of writing you need to follow!
1. Write Down the Main Ideas
The first step is to jot down everything you intend to write in your ebook. This pertains to all the ideas you aim to mention, discuss, or analyze within your ebook. You can make each idea into a heading or subheading and start working on filling them up as you go.
But how do you come up with ideas in the first place? Well, depending on what you are writing about, getting ideas can require a different approach. However, there are three ways that can work no matter what you’re writing about.
The easiest way for you to generate ideas for your ebook would be to observe. Observe those around you, their interactions, their daily habits. Observe the news, latest occurrences, inventions, and trends. See what people like, what people don’t like. See what inspires you and what doesn’t. That will help you come up with a lot of ideas on what to write and what to steer clear from.
Another way is to read or research. Go online and find out more about your genre and popular writers in your genre. Find out which books are popular and which are in-demand. Go to Google Analytics or look for keyword analyzers and find out what people are searching for most and how your ebook can help with that.
Writing about what you’ve personally experienced can help trigger some emotions to your book and add some authenticity to what you’re writing. It doesn’t have to be autobiographical. It can be an experiment that went wrong. Or it can be mistakes you made when you first started your business. Having first-hand experience in what you’re talking about will drive your point home faster and better.
If you’re working on a novel or a collection of short stories, there are a couple more tactics you can use!
Use story generators
If you’re truly fresh out of ideas, using a story generator might be just what you need! The internet is crawling with generators that can help you generate everything in relation to your story! It can help you generate characters, names, plots, and settings as a whole.
While some ideas might be ridiculous, the aim of this tactic is to help get your creative juices running and not plan out the entire book for you.
Adopt a Story
This tactic might seem strange to one who hasn’t heard of it, but it’s quite a wonderful one. Sometimes an author would put a lot of effort into their story’s premise or their characters or setting only to find out they can’t use them in the end. Maybe it’s because they no longer want to write that book. Or maybe it’s because they don’t fit in the story anymore.
No matter the reason, things aren’t working out. Instead of getting rid of the entire thing, they offer it to someone else for ‘adoption’. They explain whatever they’re giving up, and another writer can swoop in and ‘adopt’ the idea from them. That way the original writer’s idea and hard work doesn’t go to waste. Since it’s also given willingly, there’s no fear of plagiarism.
The NaNoWriMo forum has an entire Adoption Society full of threads of various story elements you can adopt. From book titles to settings and villains, it can surely inspire you to get your book going!
Remember, it’s important not to force yourself as you write, just scribble down something quick for each point for the time being, and keep going. It can be as simple as one sentence, then move along.
2. Support Your Ideas
Think of the first point as you nailing the wood you’ve set up in the shape of a sofa you’re putting together. This second point is you adding some inner padding to that sofa to fill it and soften it up.
In other words, after you’re done writing down all the ideas, you now need to support them, give them solid information to increase their validity. Not just that, but to help the point come across easily to the reader.
Depending on what type of ebook you’re going for, there are four tactics you can use to support your ideas: facts, statistics, anecdotes, and quotes. Search for proper sources and leading people in the niche you’re writing in to give your ideas more credibility.
3. Go Back to Your Outline
The next step is to ensure you’re heading in the right direction and that you didn’t accidentally take a wrong turn in the middle. This is something you should probably do regularly as you advance in your writing process. We made this guide in the prewriting stage for a reason, so try not to stray.
It will also be of significant help if you missed a specific point you’d wanted to mention or forgot what came next. Your outline is vital, so give it a look over now and then.
4. Write the Introduction and Conclusion
People have a tendency to assume that starting with the introduction is the most natural thing to do, and from there everything in their book will fall into place. But the thing is, that’s not necessarily true. In fact, it might be best to actually leave the introduction to the end when you’re done with everything else. As your book comes along, you’ll find that you might have to go back repeatedly to the introduction to do some changes here and there.
Besides, if you think about it logically, it’s difficult to come up with something to say in an introduction of something that hasn’t even been written yet. So wait until you have your work and your ideas in order to come up with something good and snappy. The introduction is the best lure for your readers, so you better make it good quality. The same goes for the conclusion.
5. Go Back and Write it Again
An important thing you need to keep in mind as you write your ebook: this is just the first draft! Many people seem to forget that part as they write. You can’t expect it to be perfect from the getgo, there are a lot of steps along the way, this isn’t your finish line. So, it doesn’t matter how bad your writing may sound, or how lacking or cringe-worthy you might find it. You need to remember that this is just the first pancake. You’ll decide what needs to stay and what to change later on and get it right by the end, but not here.
That is why, once you’re fully done with your ebook in every way, you can start over again. This time make it better. Look at your full manuscript and see what went wrong, and what needs more work. Sometimes you might even need to remove whole chunks or rewrite them entirely.
It might be a grueling task for you to do on your own if you’ve been staring at your manuscript for so long. The first thing you can do would be to let it lie for a few days or even a week, then look at it with fresh eyes. Another way would be to ask a relative or a friend to read it for you. Since they’re removed from your book, they’ll be able to spot mistakes and give you better feedback on how to improve it.
Slowly work your way throughout the entire book until it’s up to standards. This step might be a long one if you’re unsatisfied with your work as you go. But don’t fret, you can do it, and will have great things to show for it in the end!
6. Add Visuals
Technically, you don’t actually write this part, but it helps do wonders for your ebook and gives your readers a break from all the reading. The visuals can span a myriad of things. From images to videos, 3D objects, and even graphs.
Adding interactivity is a great bonus that ebooks thankfully allow you to include within your book. The colorful and even animated factors will help add a unique quality to it. The Ebook Author’s Guide to Images can even aid you when it comes to adding images to your ebook.
7. Fix the Formatting
Many publishers require your book to be in a particular formatting style for you to submit it to them. That’s also true of self-publishing platforms.
The requirements may include:
- Font type
- Font size
- Font color
- Line spacing
There may be more or less than that, depending on the publisher, but these are the basic pointers to keep in mind. These are KDP, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble Press’ formatting guidelines. If you’re planning to submit your work to any of them, be sure to read their guidelines beforehand.
Once you’re done with that, you’re good to go. You now know how to write your ebook. But that doesn’t mean it’s all done, there’s still the last stage in how to write your ebook: revising your ebook! We’ll tackle that in another article.
To make the writing part seem a little less daunting, here are things to keep in mind while you write your ebook’s first draft.
One of the potential pitfalls, when it comes to writing, is deciding to edit as you go. Editing as you go will not only slow down your writing process dramatically, but it will also stop your thought process and kill your productivity. That’s why it’s a basic rule of thumb to “kill your inner editor” while working on your first draft.
There’s a whole step dedicated to proofreading and editing your ebook and writing your first draft is not it. You need to be patient, ignore that niggling feeling that’s bothered by a mistake they feel you’ve made in the past paragraph, and continue onwards. There will come a time for you to listen to that voice, but you’re not there yet.
Don’t Write Chronologically
Writing out of order is okay. There’s no written rule that you need to write your ebook in order for you to abide by or the heavens will strike. Writing your book out of order is actually a common practice among writers.
Writing what inspires you whenever the muse strikes will make the writing process go faster. There might be times where you’d feel like writing the ending before the beginning or even random and sporadic parts throughout the ebook. Start with whatever you feel confident in, then you can later go back and link it all together once you’re done. Writing what you feel confident in will be of good help to your writing pace. You can later work on the odd parts or the ones you’re finding the most difficult working on.
Sometimes you’re stuck on a particular word or phrase you’d like to use in the middle of your writing. Or maybe there’s something you’re uncertain of and need to research. In that case, it’s best to make a note of it, add a placeholder wherever you intend to write it, and keep working. Interrupting a good workflow for something such as this might cause you to get distracted, and it’s safe to say goodbye to your progress and writing drive. The most common placeholder to use would be “TK”, which means ‘to come’.
Make Time For Writing
The problem with most writers is that when they take breaks, it gets harder and harder for them to get back into the swing of writing. That, in turn, leads to procrastination. There will always be something more urgent you’ll feel you have to do rather than write. Whether it’s paying the bills, feeding the kids, or going to business meetings, there will always be something you’ll feel trumps writing on your list of priorities.
While we’re not undermining the importance of those tasks and others too, you need to also put your writing on that list of priorities. You need to make time for writing, and that time needs to be clear of any other distractions.
Be sure to check out these Fun Writing Strategies as well!
Writing an ebook is a big deal. It can take some planning and development, but anyone can do it. You don’t have to be a writer to write your ebook, just follow these steps and you’ll be golden. One thing you need to not forget is that the writing stage is only part of the process and not the endpoint. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t an important one, because it certainly is. This is where the nitty-gritty happens and a lot of work needs to be done to get it right. You can think of the prewriting stage as the appetizer, the writing stage as the main course, and revising as dessert.
So, there you have it, it’s time to work on that first draft!